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How to childproof your living areas and outside your home

April 08, 2015

In the past few blog posts, we’ve shared some insight about how you can effectively protect your children from the hazards in your and . Once you’ve gotten those rooms under control (well, as much you can get things under control with a toddler in the house!), it’s time to look at other important areas: your living area and the outside of your home.

If you’re a first-time parent, you may be wondering when you’re supposed to start childproofing. Most of these things don’t need to be accomplished the moment you bring your baby home from the hospital. However, a good rule of thumb is to start thinking about these things when baby is around 6 months of age, before they become mobile. Once your child begins to crawl and later, walk, all bets are off! They will be into everything, so get ready.

Here are some things to consider as you’re getting your house prepared:

Childproofing your living area

  • Cover electrical outlets and secure electrical cords
  • Secure the cords of window coverings. Blinds or other window coverings often have long cords attached, which can pose a risk of strangulation if a child gets tangled up in them. Be sure to keep the cords up high, out of your child’s reach. This is also an important consideration in your baby’s room. Don’t put their crib near a window where they may be able to reach the window coverings.
  • Examine older children’s toys. If you have older children, take a look at their toys; things like Legos, accessories for Barbie dolls, board game pieces, dice or marbles can all become a choking risk for your little one. You may decide to create a special area where older children are allowed to play with these toys and where baby isn’t allowed. Store these toys up high so that children will need an adult to use them.
  • Use a baby gate in front of stairs. Don’t allow your baby to have access to stairs without your help. Place a baby gate at the bottom and the top of your staircase to ensure their safety.
  • Be sure that furniture is secured to the wall. Your entertainment center, television, cabinets, bookcases and any other large furniture can be potentially hazardous to your child if not secured to the wall. Many children are injured unexpectedly when they attempt to climb the furniture, and the furniture tips over on top of them. Prevent this tragedy from occurring by securing large furniture to the wall to ensure that even if the child tries to climb it, it cannot fall on top of them.
  • Pad the edges of furniture. For coffee tables or any other furniture that has a sharp edge, use adhesive rubber pads on the sides or corners to soften the blow in case your child falls.
  • Consider having some rooms off-limits instead of baby-proofing every room

Childproofing the outside of your home

When taking a look at the hazards outside your home, you unfortunately have to think about the unthinkable. What would happen if your toddler snuck outside without any adult supervision? How can we prevent tragedy in those crucial moments in order to give you enough time to find your child and get him out of harm’s way?

You don’t have as much control over the environment outside your home as you do on the inside, so it’s important to prevent them from getting outside if at all possible. Here are a few things you can do to prevent your toddler from escaping unnoticed:

  • Place doorknob covers on exterior doors
  • Have door chimes to alert you when doors are opened
If you have a swimming pool, this is probably the most important hazard you must address at your home.
  • Always secure your pool with a childproof pool fence that remains secured at all times
You may not be able to childproof the areas surrounding your home, but being aware of the types of things that will draw a child’s attention and that pose a significant risk will be helpful to you. In the event that your child is out of your sight and unable to be found, check the most dangerous place first. Usually, that means any body of water, no matter how small.
  • Be aware of the presence of lakes or ponds nearby
  • Know if neighbors have an unsecured pool, lake or pond near that your child could access
  • Pay attention to storm drains large enough for children to fall into
Remember that when it comes to childproofing, nothing can take the place of adult supervision. Making your home safer for your little one is important, but the only thing that can truly keep them from harm is you.